Hungarian tourist bus carrying high school students suffered serious accident in Italy

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Hungarian tourist bus carrying high school students crashed into a concrete structure on freeway A4 near Verona, Italy Friday night; the bus burst into flames at the side of the road and as a result, 16 people - students and their escorts - died and 39 injured.

The victims were students of Budapest “Szinyei Merse Pál” high school . School officials confirmed that three accompanying teachers, student’s family members and alumni students were also on board; the bus headed home from a French skiing camp.

According to official figures, fifty-four passengers - including adult escorts - and two drivers were on the bus, but according to sources more people traveled on it.

An escort teacher’s two sons also died in the fiery crash but the teacher with serious injuries survived the accident reported the Hungarian media.

Most of the survivors sat at the back of the vehicle; after the collision, they broke the windows to get out of the burning bus.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni expressed his condolences to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán by phone - said the Head of Prime Minister's Press Office Bertalan Havasi to MTI.

Photo released by Italian police

It is not yet know what caused the tragedy; Italian police have not found braking skid marks at the scene of the accident. According to Italian police sources, 16 victims were burnt in the bus. Speaking to the press Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó did not rule out that the number of victims may rise. A passenger still held in artificial coma, and two victims are in very serious condition. Italian hospital sources reported that 10 seriously injured and 13 slightly injured students are treated in hospital. 12 passengers got out unscathed from the bus, they are currently staying in a hotel in Verona.

A team of doctors and rescue specialists left for Italy to help the work of Italian colleagues.

Specialists of the National Ambulance Service left for Italy by plane; also four fully equipped ambulance vehicles are on their way to Italy - said the Head of the the National Ambulance Service Communication Department Pal Győrfi who is also a member of the Verona rescue group set up by the ministry of health.

Health Ministry State Secretary Zoltán Szücs-Ónodi instructed officials to set up operational control centers in Verona and in Budapest with the tasks to organize the transportation of the victims back to Hungary. They will be also responsible for creating supportive hospital care for injured youth in Italy and in Budapest.

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According to Italian RAI state radio, a Slovenian truck driver who was just behind the bus, saw a problem with one wheel of the bus and tried to indicate it to the driver, however, the bus driver could not react quickly enough. The Slovenian driver remained at the accident scene and helped in the rescue of the crash victims.

The number of fatalities have risen from 16 to 19, according to Italian press reports

Italian media reporting the heroic act of a gym teacher who escaped the accident but returned into the bus to rescue trapped students from the burning vehicle. He suffered fatal burns on his body and later died in hospital.

Another teacher and a fellow student have also died while helping the rescue operation. Apparently, one student has been found next to the bus with a hammer in his hand. The student smashed the windows of the bus when he suffered fatal burns and died on the scene.

Gym teacher Béla Köz Antal who died while tried to save students from the burning bus. He was 41 years old.

Among the victims of the accident is a mother, who accompanied his son to the skiing trip; both died in the fire. "PestiSrá" has reported that the student victim attended "Siofok Baross Gábor Secondary School" and was a promising karateka.

Photo:Claudio Martinelli / AFP

Survivors of the fiery crash start leaving Italy tomorrow. The students are doing well under the circumstances, they are in contact with their families, some of whom are already on the site.

M1 News reported that five people are still in Borgo Trento hospital in Verona, including 2 seriously injured who are in intensive care; they are in coma and their identities could not be determined yet.

Photo:Claudio Martinelli / AFP

( - MTI -


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